Guaranteed no-pressure book group experience

I clearly have the best job in the world, because I regularly get to go to a book group that does nothing but talk about good books — and lots of them. This isn’t your typical “let’s all read the same book and talk about it” book group. Instead, this is an informal group where we go around the room and each reader takes about two to three minutes to talk about a book he or she’s enjoyed. It’s an incredible place to get ideas for what to read next. And although the name — Let’s Talk About Books — is sort of boring and a teensy bit dopey, it really does say it all.

laura-riders-masterpieceThis summer several branches around Seattle are offering similar low-pressure drop-in book sessions called Read a Book, Share a Book. Again, the idea is just to encourage people to talk about what they’ve enjoyed reading, give other people suggestions and walk away with ideas of what you might want to add to your reading list. (Look for Read a Book, Share a Book this Saturday, July 11, at 2:30 at the Douglass-Truth branch for ages 11 through adult; August 1 again at Douglass-Truth, August 8 at the International District/Chinatown Branch, August 9 and the Rainier Beach Branch and August 15 at the South Park Branch.)

One of my many favorite things about this group is how readers talk about what they enjoy.  I had read several reviews of The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett and had certainly seen it on the library shelves. But when I heard Andrea talking about a specific scene from the book, I was convinced that I needed to start reading it that same day on the bus ride home. I knew that Jane Hamilton had a new book out, called Laura Rider’s Masterpiece, but it wasn’t until Lillian talked about how surprisingly funny it was that I: 1.) realized Hamilton could write funny; 2.) decided to place a hold on it. And just yesterday Della’s recommendation of a nonfiction book about the Mustang Ranch (Brothel: The Mustang Ranch and Its Women by Alexa Albert) and Joan’s recommendation of Linda Fairstein’s newest (Lethal Legacy, set in a library in NYC) meant two more books for my reading pile, and Susan’s recommendation of The Water’s Lovely by Ruth Rendell on audio means a new book will soon be downloaded to my iPod.  Ali, Erika and Randy all chimed in with recommendations and we all left with personal insight into more than a dozen books and authors.

This is the best model for a book group ever,” my friend and fellow librarian Abby said the last time she attended Let’s Talk About Books. I couldn’t agree more.

Summer Reads: Delridge, Madrona and South Park readers share a few suggestions

Espionage, werewolves, Ivy League and the Ivory Coast — aaah, summer reading! Take a look at the varied reading happening around town, with a sampling of titles recommended by Seattle readers. We’d love to hear what you’re reading, too! Sign up for the Adult Summer Reading Program and share your recommendations with other book lovers around town.

Readers in Delridge recommend:

Restless by William Boyd
In this story of WWII espionage, the author gives up plenty of hints to put together an outcome, but the details of spy-work, the intriguing characters and the post-action vantage point from which the story is told all made it very difficult to stop reading. Great read!!

A Hope in the Unseen: An American Odyssey from the Inner City to the Ivy League by Ron Suskind
Cedric Jennings is a young Black man trying to break out of the ‘hood in D.C. In a world where the cycle of poverty, drugs, and violence threaten his every move, Cedric manages to make it to Brown University but Continue reading “Summer Reads: Delridge, Madrona and South Park readers share a few suggestions”